The value of the bitcoins that the customs authorities seized has multiplied 10 times since they were worth USD 800,000. That public entity will deposit the money that it collects from selling the bitcoins in the Ministry of Finance.
In recent days, the Finnish customs authorities reported that they will sell an amount of seized Bitcoin whose value exceeds USD 80 million. The entity will auction a total of 1,981 BTC, most of which come from a drug case that occurred in 2016.
The customs authorities will sell the 1,666 BTC that they seized four years ago from dark web drug dealer Douppikauppa, according to local media. Besides, they will sell around 300 BTC that come from other cases, and they are waiting for another amount that has not yet received approval for the sale. For that reason, the final amount that the authority will sell could be even higher.
Depending on the price of Bitcoin, the customs authorities could receive up to USD 80 million for the sale of the seized bitcoins. In the past four years, fluctuations in the price of Bitcoin have reportedly benefited the Finnish government. The value of the money seized has multiplied 10 times during that time. The total amount did not exceed USD 800,000 in Bitcoin four years ago, according to Finnish sources. Customs CFO Pekka Pylkkanen confirmed that the entity will be in charge of selling the bitcoins itself. They also discussed that they could transfer the money to a cryptocurrency exchange to facilitate the trade. The customs directive had their reservations when it came to selling the bitcoins since they consider that there was a great possibility that the money would fall back into the hands of criminals.
Dilemma of the Customs Authorities with Bitcoin
Although the customs authorities have planned the auction of the money since 2018, they canceled it as they fear that these bitcoins could have a criminal use. The members of the board of directors thought of turning over the seized money to other government agencies and even destroying it. However, a report from the State Audit Office determined that they should sell the seized property as soon as possible.
According to Pylkkanen, there is still a risk that the seized bitcoins will circulate again on the black market, but he has accepted that he cannot prevent that from happening. After all, even the cash that central banks issue can find use in criminal activities and be one of the criminals’ preferred payment methods thanks to its anonymity.
The customs authorities determined that they will transfer the entire amount of money from the sale of these bitcoins to the Ministry of Finance, despite the concerns and dilemma that they are facing. This move confirms that this retention of almost 2,000 BTC in the last four years has been one of the best investments of the Finnish customs since it would greatly help their country. It is not the first time that the authorities of a country have decided to sell seized bitcoins. Last December, Bitcoin influencer Pierre Rochard had requested US legislators not to auction more than USD 1,600 million worth of Bitcoin.
By Alexander Salazar